Warm weather is here and according to a news article I read recently, it is going to be one of the hottest summers on record! If you exercise regularly and you especially like to exercise outdoors, like running, walking, jogging, biking, playing golf, basketball, well, ok, you get the picture. But seriously, if you plan to do a lot of outdoor activities or exercise outdoors this year, take precautions against the heat.
Hydration is key. Proper hydration is one of, if not the most important factor in hot weather. If you become dehydrated, things will start to happen to your body that would be best to avoid. Things like lethargy, and muscle cramps, for starters, which are non-conducive to working out. As dehydration develops further you may begin to become disoriented or confused, you will begin to overheat and may suffer heat exhaustion or heatstroke, although oddly, with severe dehydration you may feel like you are cold.
Without sufficient water you body cannot function properly. Our bodies are practically made of it. Water comprises approximately 75% of out muscle tissue and 10% of fat. Blood is better than 80% water and our bodies need blood to carry vital nutrients to our tissue and remove harmful waste from them. Your kidneys process and remove this waste in urine, and without sufficient water in your system they cannot function properly. Prolonged dehydration can cause kidney failure and eventually death. We can only survive about one week without water.
At rest men should consume about 13 cups of water daily (104 ounces) and women should consume about 9 cups (72 ounces). This is while the body is at rest; exercising in the heat will greatly increase the need for water intake. Physical performance decreases with a mere 2% loss of water. Keep in mind that drink water means just that, drink water.
Sports drinks are ok in moderation but you should not rely exclusively on them. A certain “name brand” sports drink that I can”t mention by name does actually do as it advertises and replenishes electrolytes lost during exercise, and so drinking some is ok, but to stay hydrated you need to drink clean, pure water. Not colas, not tea, not lemonade (lemonade is my favorite summer time drink), not beer, ” ¦water.
Also keep in mind to avoid caffeinated drinks because caffeine consumption actually increases “liquid waste output” and will, yep, you guessed it, cause you to become dehydrated. Another thing to keep in mind when exercising in extreme heat is that by the time you feel thirsty you may already have become somewhat dehydrated. Waiting until you are parched and then drinking a large amount of water is not the idea.
Drink small amounts of water regularly during your workout to prevent the painful abdominal cramps that can occur when you drink too much water at once and then perform strenuous activities. Have you ever seen a marathon race when the runners grab a cup of water as they pass by a crowd? Drinking small amounts regularly will keep you performing at optimum levels and help prevent fatigue and cramps when are have finished.
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